Friday, August 7, 2009

It's My 200th Post, And I'm Payin' it Forward

Well, I made it to the big 2-0-0. I didn't celebrate 100, but I think I'd like to do something a little bit special for 200.

But first there's backstory. If you've been hanging out here for a while, you know there's ALWAYS backstory... (stick around for this one, though - there's a payoff!)

Sometime in January, one of my friends posted the following note on Facebook:

The first five (5) people to respond to this post will get something made by me.
This offer does have some restrictions and limitations so please read carefully:

- I make no guarantees that you will like what I make.

- What I create will be just for you.

- It'll be done this year (2009).

- You have no clue what it's going to be. It will be something made in the real world and not something cyber. It may be a mixed CD. It may be a poem. I may draw or paint something. I might bake you something and mail it to you. It may involve yarn. Who knows? Not you, that's for sure!

- I reserve the right to do something extremely strange.

And in return, all you need to do is post this text into a note of your own and make 5 things for 5 others.

I was intrigued, especially because the friend who posted it is a gifted painter and I am - um - not. Hoping for a piece of original art for my home, I signed on. I posted the note again, as per the instructions, and five people quickly signed on.

I thought about making something generic that could be passed along to all of them, but then I remembered this line:

What I create will be just for you.

I decided to put a little more thought into it. I posted all of their names above my computer and I jotted little notes on them as I chatted with these folks. Slowly but surely I decided what to make. I'd like to share what I made for whom and why. Read to the end - there's a payoff!

Sara's Project

Sara strikes me as the sort of woman who is very simply elegant. She is also a woman who suffers frequent migraines and other severe headaches.

I remembered seeing a pattern for an eye mask in Handknit Holidays and I thought it just might fit the bill. I knit it using a 100% silk yarn that was an absolute pleasure to work with. I filled it with flax and lavender. Flax retains temperatures well, so it can be cooled off in the refrigerator or warmed up in the microwave, depending on what temperature would feel more soothing.

The combination of the weight, the darkness a mask provides, and the optional temperature control have eased many a headache for me and I hoped they'd do the same for Sara.


Laura's Project

Laura is an avid reader. As many avid readers also like to dabble in writing (ask me how I know...) I thought Laura might be able to get some use out of this notebook cover. The pattern is based on one presented in 101 Designer One-Skein Wonders but I altered it a little. The yarn is a really scrumptious handspun that I bought at a festival a couple years ago. I just really love the idea of taking a simple notebook and making it look a little more sophisticated and special.

It could also be used to cover and protect a paperback book (or just hide the cover of a trashy novel!) when she's reading it, if she prefers.

Write on!
Andrea's Project

Andrea is a stay-at-home mom who is utterly devoted to her kids and her husband. This is a wonderful trait and she should be applauded for it! Unfortunately, sometimes when folks are too devoted to others they forget about themselves. Andrea has admitted that she never takes any time for herself - it is just not a priority. She has ALSO told me that she has a super-bitchin' soak tub that she has NEVER used.

So I decided to make soap holders for Andrea. His and hers, so she didn't have to feel guilty about an indulgence just for her. Shared bath time can be fun AND indulgent! (nudge, nudge, wink, wink)

I used a pattern from the book 101 Designer One-Skein Wonders and some high quality cotton yarn. As I was making the set I thought, "I wonder if I couldn't make some soap to go with these? Handmade soap could be quite indulgent while not promoting guilt - ya gotta bathe! Why not bathe with something luxurious that was made just for you?" Andrea's soap is a lovely softening goat's milk base with lavender and vanilla to enhance the relaxation properties and oatmeal for exfoliation.


Crystal's Project

Crystal loves entertaining. She loves to cook for friends and she loves to get her party on! I thought, since she gets pleasure out of preparing food and drink for her loved ones, maybe I could give her a little pleasure during the planning stages. I thought a reusable grocery bag might be just the ticket.

I have several patterns for reusable shopping bags, but my favorite is this one.

I like the drawstring feature, but if Crystal doesn't she can easily remove it. It allows the bag to be more compact, so she can throw it in her purse.

This way, I figure one friend - me! - will be with her while she shops - thus extending the joy of entertaining.

Party on!

Linda's Project

Linda was tough for me because she is a very crafty chick herself. There is nothing I can do that she cannot do, too. That made things a little tougher on my end. The project I chose is no exception.

Linda loves jewelry and she loves the ocean. I made this jewelry box using seashells and sand from the beach. I like the open weave of the top for storing earrings. I hope she can get some use out of this and that it will remind her of the beach when she's not near it. I've made one for myself, too, and that's what it does for me!

Surf's Up!

Cass's Project

Cass was not one of my 'first five', but she was the one who sent the project out in the first place, and I wanted to send her a little something in the same spirit to thank her.

Cass is a righteously cool little chickadee. I think of her always as an earth mother. Cass knows herself and wants her children to be free to know - and, more importantly - be - themselves as well.

Like many good earth mothers, Cass is into yoga. I'd made a bag for my own yoga mat years ago using a pattern from Inspired Cable Knits by Fiona Ellis. I love the cables that loosely represent the tree pose. They are so fun to work. I knew Cass would feel the joy I experienced making it when she used it.

I had intended to make it using organic soy yarn, but when I went to pick that out I found this gorgeous green recycled cotton. Recycling is good karma, no doubt. And everyone knows that redheads like Cass look good in green.


Matt's Project

Matt was also not one of the first five, but he used my posting to initiate a fair trade. Matt is an amazing artist as well as a kick-ass bass player and he promised me an original work of art in exchange for a black toque he could wear on stage.

Um? No brainer.

Matt lives in a state where it's warm a lot more often than it's cold, so I didn't want to use wool for his toque. I used, instead, a high quality cotton DK. This is one of my favorite yarns and I have made untold numbers of baby sweaters using it because it is so darn soft.

I used a pattern from the righteous Debbie Stoller's Son of Stitch 'N Bitch.

And then I made one for myself.

Rock on!

Sue's Project

Technically, Sue was not in the first five either. She posted a comment then deleted it, silly woman with an itchy finger on the delete button!!! But the comment went to my e-mail anyway, so I figured she was SORT OF in the first five...

Also, Sue is easy to gift!

Sue has confessed on separate occasions to a bag/purse obsession, an addiction to coffee, and a love of the color blue fueled by a love of the Nittany Lions. What better gift than a 'coffee clutch'? (I know! Groan! I crack myself up!)

The perfect size for your keys, your wallet, your phone, and a couple Starbucks gift cards!

The purse was crocheted from another Debbie Stoller book, Stitch 'N Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker using a durable nylon yarn. The embellishment is all me. I've made quite a few of these bags, and my signature "thang" is that I line them with old T-shirts. It's environmentally conscious and it gives a little funky cred to a simple clutch, I think. I know Sue is a very charitable gal, so, since I didn't have a Penn State T-shirt in my stash, I lined hers with an old 'Race for the Cure' T.

If she doesn't like the embellishment, it can easily be done away with. Mine is plain and I sometimes embellish it with 'flair' and sometimes with a pretty brooch. The sky is really the limit here.

Shop on!

Now I realize that this was a long post. If you managed to get this far, you deserve a reward. A PAYOFF if you will! So I've decided that, in honor of my 200th post, I'd like to make one of these items for one of you. Leave me a comment and tell me what you like. I'll draw one name from a hat and I will make that winner the item of their choice. I'll do what I can to work with you to make sure colors and such are what you would like them to be. In the spirit of things, I think it would be really swell if you decided to pay it forward... I won't force it as part of the agreement, but I sure do think it would be swell and I sure would like to hear about it if you do.

So. To recap.

Do you want:

Sara's Relaxation Mask?
Laura's Notebook Cover?
Andrea's Soap Holders?
Crystal's Shopping Bag?
Linda's Jewelry Box?
Cass's Yoga Mat Bag?
Matt's Toque?
Sue's Clutch?

Leave me a comment, and good luck! A winner will be drawn on Friday, August 14. Make sure I can reach you!


Housewife Savant said...

Congrats for having 200 posts!
And in the spirit of over 40 - congrats for remembering, paying attention and keeping track.
(I know, I know; the total number of posts is displayed on your edit page and elsewhere, but some people someHOW miss that.)


I love your posts. I love your creativeness.
I've seen this Pay-It-Forward thing and I've trembled at the reality of my own failings and forgetfulness (and my overall bad attitude but it doesn't begin with an "f" so it's not as alliteratory.)

Kudos for completing and excelling!
And stroking the inferiority complexes of all your readers.
French-kissing it and lap dancing actually.
I'm slumping in my desk chair as I type this, cradling my incompetence. Now we have plans for the weekend. Me and my fail.

This is awesome stuff Tammy. I would like Sue's clutch if I win.

Anonymous said...

Oh wow!! You are amazing! Seriously, I am blown away by the things you have made for people! I love the shopping bag!

carma said...

so much talent and thought went in to all of these!!! You are amazing.

I am going through a funky hat phase, so of course, the toque :D

SparkleFarkle said...

WOW! A live bicentennial moment! Congratulations on your 200th! (In your honor, a high school marching band has been ordered and will perform for you at lunch, at which time, I will be serving my special specialty: Reeses Pieces-filled Peanut Butter Sandwiches with a MAJOR milk chaser!) CONGRATS, again and thank you for the giftie opportunity: put me down for the delightful bookcover, if I win!

Renee said...

I am so impressed that you made so many cool things! Such really great ideas! I personally love the eye mask. As a migraine sufferer myself anything that makes it darker and smells soothing really helps. Congrats for your 200th post!

Sir Hook of Warrick aka "David K Wells" said...

Matt's Toque would be a perfect fit for Lollapalooza this weekend! Rock On you Crafty Lady!

Sir Hook the Troubadour of Warrick

Badass Geek said...

Seriously? You are uber talented.

Anything I'd pick would be for my wife, so I'd probably hope for the notebook cover if I won.

Vivienne said...

Happy 200! My proverbial hat is off to you and your yarn smelling habit. Clearly it works for you. These are amazing pieces.

I love them all (even the bag for the yoga mat... and I hate yoga) but I would have to go for the shopping bag.

Rosa said...

Once again, you amaze me with your talent and sensitivity. I love the way you tailor each gift to what you know about the person who will receive it. I love the way you talk about your favorite types of yarn and how fun a particular pattern is to make. For years I've shown people the gorgeous items you've made for my children and I. They are, without exception, impressed with you. As well they should be. (We still have the Steve from Blues Clues sweater, I'll have you know. The boy is 12 now but we just can't bear to part with it.) You don't need to include me in your drawing. I think it's a lovely idea but I really just wanted to tell you how extraordinary I think you are.

Mrs. Jelly Belly said...

Congrats on the 200 posts! I did nothing for mine. Now I feel bad. :)

You are all kinds of talented. Must admit to a little envy going on here. Love Sue's clutch. Love!

Pam said...

Congrats on your 200th post! Way to go! I've known for awhile that you are an avid knitter and it's fun to see some of your awesome projects. You are uber-talented. Me, not so much!

My favorite is Sue's Clutch!

Gigi said...

Hi, it's my first time coming by. What a talented woman you are! And, I don't want to be entered in the drawing or anything. Just wanted to know who Mommakin was. ; )

Ginger said...

So. you're pretty much AMAZING! My craft is stained glass..
That is, if I can find the work table underneath all of the baby stuff we've stored on it for at least 6 months. This might be a great reason to break out the glass again (get it.. break out the glass..because that's what stained glass artists do.. get it?.. (sigh) Dude.)

I think I'll leave it to fate. If I'm drawn, I'll pay it forward. If not, I'll take it that fate has decided a different path for me to take.

I LOVE the shopping bag!!!! I would use it all of the time. :)

Alex the Girl said...

Okay, just the fact that you can create is amazing enough, but to match it to each personality is complete uberness!!!

Congrats on reaching your 200th post. Although I haven't been one of your followers from the get go, I am fortunate enough to have been, and still am (der), one of your followers for some time now! Woo! I claim being part of your team. You are an entertaining writer, and I've enjoyed you reaching this posteth (I still think the one where you came home from vacation and had a bathtub meltdown is the one that touched me the mosteth...I sniffled along).

I think the cap is the coolest!

The Redhead Riter said...

I have an award for you at:

Unknown Mami said...

Happy 200!

I like Sue's clutch.

linda said...

200 posts...woo hoo! Congratulations!

I've seen these pay it forward posts and love them. I just never seem to make into the top 5 quick enough.

All of the gifts you made were incredible, you really have a talent. Although all are wonderful, I love the mask and notebook cover...oh heck, I love them all!

The Redhead Riter said...

I'm back again. I had to go to the other award bloggies before they saw my posting because so many of them are night owls...LOL

This is really a sweet thing you did and so service oriented. My daughter is asleep and sick, but I am marking this blog for her to read. I always tell her that "service cultivates the good in you and other people" and you are the PERFECT example of that saying!

Thank you for sharing all of it and I ALWAYS get to the bottom of the posts...LOL

I liked all the gifts. Do you ever make baby booties? My daughter is 16... young, single and childless (thank goodness), but I want to have something "different" to put in her hope chest. How cool would it be to have something with the posting of the blog attached to the booties? It could be ten years plus before she has a baby, but the booties would be waiting WITH a great history to go with them. Would that make you part of my an adopted kind of way?

Anyway, I just wanted to say I am sure that all the people you sent a gift will always think of you fondly.

Have a great weekend.

Kathy B! said...

Congrats on your 200th post! Quite an accomplishment :)

I'm so sorry I was absent from the blogospher yesterday... I would've loved to have been in the top 5!

Sandy said...

Congrats on your 200th post! I intend to get there one day.

I have been enjoying your posts for a while now and am always eager to see what you have for us. I didn't realize you were a knitter. That is a wonderful craft. I've done a few crafy things in the past but never knitting.

I just thought you were an amazing writer and super-thoughtful person. Your attention to those original five and intention to make each gift so personal and special is amazing. How honored they all much feel.

I would love Sara's eye mask. With what's been going on of late, I need to relax a little more and that sounds lovely!

BONNIE K said...

This is a very cool idea. I wish I were the creative sort, but I"m not. Which is why I would love the eye mask - just to lie down and mellow out.

scrappysue said...

that sue sounds like me, except i have no idea what the nittany lions are! congrats on your 200th post!

Jenny Penny said...

Okay, it has been a comment dry spell on my part, and I happened to click over to you from my blog to see how you are and what's new. So, in the interest of integrity, because I haven't commented for so long and because I don't want to comment just to win something from you, I will refrain from telling you which of the things I loved most. They are very cool creations, though, and I'm inspired. I, too, did that Facebook Pay It Forward thing, months ago, and it's been hanging over me ever since! I hate to put it that way, but I had responses from so many people that I don't even know very well anymore -- you know, the old classmates that randomly send friend requests? So, I can't even find out enough about them to make something suitable, unless I stalk their pages on Facebook! At any rate, I have purchased some supplies that have been sitting in a bag in my room for two months now. Your post inspired me to open the bag. Maybe it's time to get started on paying it forward. :)

MiMi said...

Oh my, mommakin! :)
This is great stuff!
I would like the book cover!
No - the reusable shopping bag!
Wait - the clutch. For sure, the clu---er, hold on...
Never mind, Tammy. I couldn't decide. You'd just have to send me whatever you wanted, cuz it's ALL cute! :)
I'm thinking I should track down the stictch n bitch and one skein wonders for my stash!!!

Melissa B. said...

First off, congrats on reaching 200...what a milestone! 2nd, you KNOW I'd always go for the notebook cover. If I'm not too late, that is. I've totally lost touch of the days while on vay-cay. And between the heat, hiding in the house in the middle of the day, and spotty Internet accesss...well, you know how that goes!

R. Wallis @ TrueBeauty said...

Just stopping by from SITS! Great Blog! Love your creativeness!
Happy Wednesday!
Come over and check out my 5 DAYS of GIVE-A-WAYS!